Monday, February 11, 2002
Alexander the Great conquered most of the then-known world by the age of 33. One of the reasons for that was the iron discipline that he insisted on among his troops. That's why a young soldier was so terrified as he was hauled into Alexander's tent to answer for charges of cowardice and desertion in battle. The general was seated at a table, and the accused soldier stood before him. Alexander said, "Soldier, you've been accused of deserting during a battle - guilty or not?" "Guilty," he replied almost inaudibly. The general followed up then by asking, "What's your name, soldier?" The answer came back - "My name is Alexander, sir." It was at that point that Alexander the Great leaped to his feet, reached across the table, grabbed the soldier by the collar and shouted, "Either you change your life or you change your name!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "Living Up To Your Name".
I wonder if Jesus doesn't feel that way about some of us. We're carrying His name around - a Christian - a Christ one. And we're reflecting on His name by the way we're living, the way we're treating people, the way we're doing business, and the way we're reacting. Does the life live up to that holy name we carry?
Suddenly, we're looking at one of the Ten Commandments in a different light than we usually do. In Exodus 20:7, our word for today from the Word of God, He says, "You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses His name." Now, that commandment is usually used in the context of not using the Lord's name as a swear word or using it lightly or irreverently. And that is sure included in what God meant. We are supposed to always use the name of our Lord with great respect.
But swearing or irreverence are not the only ways to "misuse the name of the Lord your God" or, as the King James Version says, "take the name of the Lord your God in vain." When you claim to be a "Christ-one" and you live or talk in a way that is the opposite of what Christ is like - you are discrediting the name of the One you claim to serve. There's an example of that in Romans 2:24 where Paul says of his fellow Jews, "God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."
And we all know that the inconsistencies and hypocrisies of a believer give unbelievers a reason not to come to Jesus. Probably the most common reason people give for rejecting Jesus is another Christian. And probably the most common reason people come to Christ is because of another Christian. Before most people start believing in Christ, they believe in a Christian they know.
You're not an island. You're being watched - especially if you claim to be a Christian. And someone is sizing up Jesus based on what they see in you. They can't see Him - they can see you. What a horrible thought - that you or I might be a reason for someone we care about to miss Jesus - and to miss heaven forever.
So look at your life in light of the holy name of Jesus that every Christian carries. What kind of feeling are you giving your children about Jesus, based on how you treat them? How about your coworkers? Your employees? Your fellow students? Your friends?
In heaven, they bow down at the name of Jesus. One day every being in heaven, on earth, and under the earth will bow down at the name of Jesus. It is to Almighty God the highest, the holiest name. And you, as His follower, carry that name. If your life is dishonoring the name, it is time to change your life.